Read Joe Durocher's response, "Issue
in Desnethé riding is democracy," StarPhoenix, February 5, 2008 and Frank
Tomkins' "Will Dorion ever lear?" Meadow Lake
Progress and Northern Pride, February 3, 2008
The StarPhoenix, Thursday, January 31, 2008
Appointment best serves northerners
by John K. Dorion
The recent uproar over Joan Beatty's appointment as
the Liberal candidate in the
Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River byelection is really
nothing more than a tempest in a teapot.
After our MP resigned last summer, I threw my hat in
the nomination ring, and toiled for months – meeting
people, raising funds and selling memberships as I
criss-crossed the vast expanse of northern Saskatchewan.
Had there actually been a nomination meeting in
November, I have no doubt that I would have trounced my
opponent – political gadfly David Orchard.
Of course I was disappointed when Stéphane Dion pre-emptorily
appointed Beatty, but I understand that a leader
sometimes must make tough decisions in the best
interests of the party. As a longtime loyal Liberal, I
fully support his choice.
Like myself, Ms. Beatty is an aboriginal person from
the riding and has my full and unequivocal backing. That
she was a cabinet minister in the Saskatchewan
government shows that she has developed certain skills
that can benefit the people of northern Saskatchewan.
Her election can address a gender inequality in
However, I am profoundly dismayed over the antics of
Orchard. Whatever his agenda, it's not one that has the
interests of the people of northern Saskatchewan
foremost. Nor does it help the Liberal party.
It's true that he helped Dion win the leadership of
the Liberal party. But a few short years earlier, he
also played king-maker at the Conservative convention
and was pivotal in Peter MacKay becoming leader.
Orchard does well when it comes to picking leaders
(in whatever party he happens to be in at the time), but
his subsequent actions prove that he has enormous
difficulty in abiding by the rules (of whatever party he
happens to be in at the time). Orchard now should join
the next party on his list, or failing that, start his
own to keep himself at the center of attention.
During the last election, farmers at the southern
fringe of this riding voted Conservative. The rest of
the riding is predominantly aboriginal – Dene, Cree and
Métis. We pulled together as Liberals and won by 67
It is important that we stay united and work hard to
get an aboriginal person elected as our representative
in Ottawa. We don’t need Orchard coming here to tell us
what is best for us.
From such ground breaking policy initiatives as the
Residential School Settlement and the Kelowna Accord, to
strong action on the international scene in support of
the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Aboriginal Peoples, the Liberals have shown us time and
again that they are the best way for us to advance.